Mary Louise Kelly is the enemy of America, and Rush Limbaugh gets the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Yep.
We can all play that game. OK, I’ll try. Florence Nightingale was a serial killer. Idi Amin was a humanitarian. Now, you try.
Not surprising that Donald Trump would use the State of the Union to award America’s top civilian honor to a man who, among other things, fought with every membrane to convince listeners that, per industry dictates, cigarettes couldn’t be blamed for cancer.
I know, it’s still just a theory.
Limbaugh won his right-wing merit badge as a racist folk hero, with comments like calling Barack Obama a “halfrican-American” and telling an African-American caller to “take the bone out of your nose.”
By contrast, NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly, a standard of expert and probing journalism, is the enemy – OK, the “f-ing” enemy. So said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an eruption apparently fit for a rubber room.
This came after the celebrated interview in which Kelly actually had the temerity to ask about what her listeners wanted to know – Team Trump’s doings regarding Ukraine. This apparently did not comport with specifications laid out by the head snowflake in the State Department.
The denunciation of Kelly and NPR, of course — guilty of pursuing facts — is roundly supported by a president whose every day is a lather of lies.
So of course he would retweet a conservative commentator’s, “Why do we still have NPR?”
Because Trump and NPR are in diametrically opposite businesses. NPR is about informing people in the public interest. Trump is about misleading people in his self-interest.
Here’s another reason why NPR still exists: Because people support it. And no, not just with the relative pittance of tax dollars it receives. NPR gets less than 1 percent of its funding from the federal Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The rest, as NPR says, is from its listeners and underwriters.
Some background: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created in the ‘60s as a parcel of the Great Society anti-poverty programs, which included a multi-media educational component aimed at uplifting the masses.
From this we have events, live-streamed or on television and radio. Jewels such as travel, gardening and news programs: “Sesame Street,” “American Experience,” “All Things Considered,” “Science Friday,” and “Prairie Home Companion.” All told, a shower of riches.
Among those offerings: unblinking coverage and analysis of the impeachment proceedings.
Republicans have consistently voted to defund NPR and PBS sometimes criticizing them as liberalism incarnate and otherwise saying we can’t afford them. Ahem. The entire Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s federal allocation of $445 million last year wouldn’t pay for one-fourth of a stealth bomber.
Opponents of taxpayer dollars going to NPR and PBS say they can support themselves. No doubt they could. But their essence would be altered to the great detriment of consumers of information they can trust and a wide range of other listening and viewing pleasures.
Back to Pompeo, who reportedly asked Kelly, “How many Americans do you really think care about Ukraine?” (We can think of at least 230 of them serving in the House of Representatives and 48 in the Senate).
For some reason, though supposedly Americans don’t care about Ukraine, right as Trump dodged history’s noose in the Senate, Pompeo headed on a mission there, taking care to bar any reporter from NPR from accompanying him on the trip.
We understand. Trump’s accomplices will do anything to keep the public in the dark and peddle self-serving falsehoods while telling us — as we try to keep up with the news — that everyone else is lying.
If truth is your preference, dear listener, vote these con men out.
And support NPR and PBS.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. E-mail: email@example.com.